Fraud Focus – World cup tickets, Twitter scams, and Black Friday deals
23 November 2022
Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest fraud threats, and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information.
World cup and concert ticketing scams
With the start of the World Cup, Cifas has seen a sharp rise in ticketing scams, including fake ticket lotteries offering cash prizes or hospitality packages distributed through phishing texts and emails. In addition, there has also been a rise in fake websites purporting to be the official World Cup website.
Football fans are advised to be cautious of unsolicited emails claiming they have won tickets, and never click on links included in these emails. Doing so runs the risk of downloading malware designed to steal personal and financial information. You can report a suspicious email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check that a website is genuine by using the Check a Website service.
Twitter and Facebook fraud
Following the brief rollout of Twitter Blue last week, Cifas is reminding Twitter users to be wary of messages from ‘checkmark accounts’. Reports have already emerged of scammers impersonating well-known travel companies attempting to deceive customers into handing over their personal and financial details.
A grant scam has also been circulating on Facebook specifically targeting people struggling with the cost-of-living. Users are being contacted directly by a Facebook friend who has had their account hacked, sending them a link to apply for financial aid through a ‘National Community Grant’.
Cifas is reminding people never to click on any links sent via messaging apps as they may be downloading malicious malware designed to steal information. It is also recommended that users regularly run anti-malware scans on devices to check for malicious software.
Fake Black Friday deals
Shoppers are being urged to carefully check the website addresses of ecommerce and retail sites ahead of Black Friday next week on 25 November. Many genuine retailers are offering early access to sales, with criminals capitalising on this to create spoofed websites designed to trick consumers into handing over personal and financial details to unsafe websites or charging them for items that never arrive. Red flags include slightly mis-spelled brand names, or basic-looking fonts and colour schemes. Phishing campaigns for sale deals are also circulating, designed to encourage consumers into clicking unsafe links.
Cifas continues to advise consumers to be wary of ‘too good to be true’ offers purporting to be from established retailers, and to avoid clicking links in any unsolicited emails. Scam emails should be reported to email@example.com. Our Check a website tool is also recommended in the first instance to check whether a site is hiding malware. Some spoofed websites may not contain malware but may pose as a retailer with no intent to deliver the purchased product, consumers should make sure they are visiting the retailer’s official website, taking a moment to consider before making a purchase, and avoid impulse buys. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Telecoms customers targeted by fraudsters
Cifas has received reports of fraudsters contacting customers, offering a 40% discount on their services. Fraudsters make contact via a telephone and often request proof as identity as a ploy to steal customers’ personal details. Following the phone call, criminals are then able to gain access to the victims account through use of a security code.
Telecommunications customers are reminded to challenge unsolicited calls purporting to be from their service provider. If you feel the slightest hint of unease, stop and take time to think carefully before parting with your personal information. Only a fraudster will try to rush or panic you, if in doubt, hang up and call them back on a number you know to be theirs.
Amber Burridge, Head of Intelligence for Cifas, said:
'With the festive season approaching and household budgets remaining squeezed, criminals continue to deceive members of the public struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
‘In the first nine months of 2022, over 210,800 cases of identity fraud were recorded to the National Fraud Database, a 34% rise from last year. It accounts for the majority of fraud cases.
‘Hopeful ticket purchasers for the World Cup and 2023 concerts are being targeted, as well as social media users looking for help with rising prices. Black Friday is also being used by fraudsters as an opportunity to scam people out of their hard-earned cash, and mobile phone customers are subject to increasingly sophisticated scams.
People are advised to stop and think carefully before responding to unsolicited emails or phone calls and challenge requests to part with your personal or financial details. Criminals will try to use a sense of urgency to discomfort you, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.’
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam should contact their bank or financial service provider immediately and report the fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.
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